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A quick step and scotch hop across Cairn Gorm and Ben MacDui

A quick step and scotch hop across Cairn Gorm and Ben MacDui

Postby dektasker » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:03 pm

Route description: Ben Macdui and Cairngorm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Macdui, Cairn Gorm

Date walked: 30/06/2012

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 17.5 km

Ascent: 932m

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Bob and I left Dundee around 05:45. We had looked at the MWIS and it looked very bleak. I had looked at the BBC weather channel for Aviemore and it said much the same but the hourly forecast gave a bit of hope as it was predicted to get showery with light rain about 1pm.

It turned out to be a good decision and as we headed north up the A9 to the Cairngorms the sun was shining and it looked like the mist was clearing further ahead as we passed through the Drumochter pass. A fortnight ago we were up at the Cairnwell and had a couple of close encounters of the Roe Deer kind. Happened again on the A9, weird as this young Roe rather calmly strolled across the road without a care in the world!!

We arrived at the Cairngorm ski centre and by 07:30 we were looking for the path. We initially followed the chair lift but cut across to Sron an Aonaich slopes path. The path is excellent and from the car park to the Ptarmigan restaurant it took around 25 to 30 minutes. Have to say a huge thank you to either Scottish Natural Heritage or the owners of the Cairngorm Ski centre as this is in excellent condition and make the walk so much easier. What is amazing is the amount of route cairns which guide you to the summit and the cairn itself. I was expecting a harder and wetter walk having bought some water proofing spray for my boots. (getting fed up with damp socks ).
Loch Morlich and Aviemore in the background

Looking back down you can see examples of the route cairns
route cairns .jpg
The route cairns on route

Picture of the restaurant and the path onwards towards the summit.
Slope_Behind_Ptarmigan_ restaurant .jpg

It took another 10 minutes to get to the summit of Cairn Gorm and though there is a weather station, The views are still excellent and it very different from the Cairnwell at Glenshee. (Did the Carinwell two week previous in the mist and it gave a rather surreal feel, a bit spooky but with a different character, actually liked it). This has the be the one of the easiest and quickest Munros to do. I do not mind the weather station etc, actually think it adds to the character and provides a service to walkers, skiers and others.
The Cairn at the summit and the Weather Station

The path from the summit towards the corries at Coire an t-Sneachda which are impressive and on towards Stob Coire an t-Sneachda, is well marked and in good condition.
Coire an t-Sneachda .jpg
Corries at Coire an t-Sneachda

The path continues and at at Coire Domhain we went left past the pool at Lochan Buidhe. The plateau is boulder-strewn, makes the landscape seem endless but great for boulder surfing. There is a bit of a final climb but plenty of cairns to keep you on the right track. When we arrived it was misty but these pictures give you a good feel of what it is like, boulders and all.
Ben MacDui Cairn and boulders

Ben MacDui Cairn

The wind up here is biting. When I got up in the morning I could not find my hat. Luckily I took my youngest daughter’s which was a good fit and a cool look. The hat had ears like a cat. I was purring but Bob said I was not cool for cats. Did get a few odd and double looks on the way down but did not see anybody I know. Anyway glad I took it as it was cold!!

We followed the path back to the pool at Lochan Buidhe but took a left took the path above Lairig Ghru. The scenery when not misty is impressive. Took these pictures on the way down but not 100% certain of what I am seeing. Think it is Lochan Uaine, with the water falling down into the glen it look's spectacular. This picture does not do the view justice.
Lochan Uaine.jpg
Lochan Uaine

The path plateaus pretty quickly and we had a gentle jog down the path, Boulder surfing and practicing some pretty good quick steps . Reminded me of the kids when they played hop scotch.

On hind sight glad we did the Cairn Gorm first. We got our height fairly quickly and the walk toward Ben Macdui is well marked and relatively simple though nearer the summit there are a lot of boulders (great for boulder surfing) . However the thought of that long slow climb up ben Macdui from the ski centre then to walk to the Cairn Gorm is not pleasing. Must admit that going out early gives a little sense of satisfaction when you’re going back down and people are just going up. Might keep my daughters hat for the next walk (eastern fannachs). People do like to have a second glance!!

More photos at twitter @dektasker or on flickr http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAmamgf
Coire an Lochain.jpg
Last edited by dektasker on Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A quick step and scotch hop across Cairn Gorm and Ben Ma

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:21 pm

good to see the weather better than the forecast
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Re: A quick step and scotch hop across Cairn Gorm and Ben Ma

Postby basscadet » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:33 pm

Oh That looks like you had a cracking day :D i tried to do the Cairngorm/Macdui traverse a couple of months ago, but was fought back with knee deep snow and whiteouts :(

I was in the Gorms today as well, looks like you had slightly better weather surprisingly :lol:
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